This question seemed like a good companion to yesterday's Good Question on a neater way to store onions and garlic. Adam has a similar problem, but it's all in his fridge.
I have been having the worst time keeping my veggies, in particular my celery and carrots, crisp. I've tried putting them just about everywhere in the fridge, but alas, they always turn to floppy rubber semblances of themselves within a few days. Please help! I have space limitations, not having a full size fridge in my NY apartment, so please no suggestions to put a bucket of sand in the fridge (thanks, but no thanks, Alton B.)
Adam, I threw away a limp bundle of celery when I returned from Kenya; it was dead as a rubber chicken. So I feel your pain. Celery and carrots seem to suffer the worst, since they are often used in small amounts to flavor soups and stews; I rarely go through a whole bunch of celery all at once.
This is what the crisper drawer in your fridge is ostensibly for: it supposedly keeps the humidity in and prevents your carrots from drying out and your celery from going all limp (which of course is also caused by it drying out). But we all know that this frequently fails; our "crisper" drawers don't really work any better than the rest of the fridge. We use them for organization - not preservation.
We've seen a lot of different tips for keeping celery crisp and fresh (like in this thread at Thrifty Fun). Some of the most common tips involve standing celery upright in a pitcher of water. This also works very well for fresh herbs; trim the bottoms and stand them upright in a small glass of water, just like a flower bouquet. Slip a plastic bag over top and you've just increased their life by at least a week.
With celery, carrots, and cabbage, I find the most economical way of preserving these watery vegetables is to wrap them in plastic (some recommend foil!) before putting them in the fridge. And once they're there, use them quickly.
And if you do find limp carrots or celery in your refrigerator after all that, they are still perfectly good for soup and stock. Here are a couple of delicious recipes that will use them all up: